OXFORD, Miss. — Confederate Drive has been part of the University of Mississippi for as long as anyone can remember.
But Chancellor Dan Jones plans to re-name it “Chapel Drive” as part of a campaign to erase some controversial aspects of the school’s past.
That has sparked protest from history buffs like Debbie Sidle, who claim Jones wants to re-write history, “If you change history, then you make your children ashamed of their history which they shouldn’t be. What do you expect them to grow up to be?”
That’s why she and about 40 others, marched in Oxford from the east end of town to the Ole Miss campus carrying Confederate flags.
University of Mississippi Public Relations Director Dan Blanton told us the changes need to be made, ”We need to take a leadership role in the discussion on diversity and inclusion and racial reconciliation. We’ve made a commitment to doing that.”
The University even hired a “Chancellor for Diversity” to oversee that.
Another controversial change involves how the University refers to itself.
Leaders want to use the name Ole Miss for athletics and the University of Mississippi for academics.
Blanton said these changes don’t change the school as a whole, ”I can make it categorically clear that Ole Miss will always be who we are.”
University officials believe the changes will bring in more students from more diverse backgrounds.
Protestors say Ole Miss history, however distasteful, is in the eye of the beholder and shouldn’t get painted over.
”When you re-write history, the way they’re re-writing history, all you have left is nothing. Ole miss will be a generic school, just like every other generic school,” said Sidle, who told us she and others will keep protesting to get their message out.